Why Was Sacrifice Necessary To Forgive Sin?
Question: Why did there need to be sacrifice?
First it was animals and then Jesus.
I don’t understand the purpose of a life taken to spare others.
Name: Brandon T. Ward
Answer: Thank you for the question Robin.
I will answer that question in a moment, but I want to lay a little groundwork on this one.
Sacrifice During The First Testament
If we begin reading in Hebrews 9, we are reminded under the First Testament, that would be what we call the “Old Testament”, there was a tabernacle.
Within the first veil of this tabernacle there “was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary,” (Hebrews 9:2). When it was time, “the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God,” (Hebrews 9:6).
There was also a second veil “which is called the Holiest of all,” (Hebrews 9:3). “Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant,” (Hebrews 9:4).
The second veil was entered by “the high priest alone once every year,” he brought blood, “which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people,” (Hebrews 9:7).
The way to “the holiest of all was not yet” declared, (Hebrews 9:8). Meaning, Christ had not yet come, so only the High Priest could enter in. When Christ died on the Cross for our sins, this tore that veil from top to bottom and enabled all of us to come to God directly and commune with Him through the Holy Spirit.
The point, as Hebrews 9:11 states, Christ was this High Priest, so His Sacrifice was worthy, (Revelation 5:12). He did not bring “the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” (Hebrews9:12).
Christ fulfilled this obligation, animal sacrifice by shedding His Blood so we could have the opportunity at Eternal Life.
He did this one time and one time only, it was not to be repeated, (Hebrews 9:24-25). Otherwise, Christ would have been doing it since the “foundation of the world,” until today, (Hebrews 9:26).
Why Was Sacrifice Necessary?
Turn your Bible with me to,
22 “Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission,”
This was simply a requirement by God, if the Law was broken, it could only be mended through blood, through the sacrifice of an animal in the days long ago.
However, this could not make the sinner perfect, in fact, it did not even wash away their sins, it simply fulfilled the requirement by God, (Hebrews 10:9).
Why the need for blood sacrifice though?
Please turn your Bible with me to,
1 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”
The sacrifice of animals was never going to make the people perfect, it was simply a way for them to express how sorry they were for their sins.
2 “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.”
3 “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”
Your take away, your answer is right here in verse 3.
Through these sacrifices, they remembered their sin, they felt the pain of their sins every year.
Without the sacrifices, the people would not have felt that level of pain, there would have been no “conscience of sins,” simply meaning, the people would have had no “moral consciousness” of their sin.
Over time, the sin would not feel like a sin at all if only words would satisfy God over their sin, so action had to be taken in the form of a blood sacrifice.
We have to remember, during the days of old their jobs were maintaining their animals which they used for food and clothing, and of course their crops. When the individual sinned against God, they had to sacrifice the very best of their animals, even their favorite if you will. This destroyed all of their hard work, and destroyed a love they may have had for a close animal.
When you have to destroy something you have put hard work and effort into, when you have to destroy something you love, it breaks your heart.
This is why God required sacrifice, there had to be some form of payment for their sin, without some suffering, the sin would mean nothing and continue on.
This was a way of keeping the people in check.
Understanding Animal Sacrifice In The Modern Age
When this question came in, I read it to my boys who were sitting around the table. My oldest son knew the answer, he remembered what I explained some time ago.
Several years back we were reading about sacrifice and I explained to my family why animal sacrifice was necessary, and how it must have made the people feel. While it is hard to relay the message to us in the modern era, I used a simple example they could understand.
We have a cat named Panther. I explained to them, if you had sinned against God in those days, if you broke His Law, then you would be required to sacrifice your animal in order to atone for your sin. Since Panther is your only animal, the Law would have required you to kill her.
You could see the tears in their eyes just well up.
The children immediately understood why sacrifice was necessary. They also understood the punishment you would bring on yourself and your animal if you sinned. The animal would be an innocent victim, and our sin would destroy our animal’s life by our own hand, (now think about Christ being the innocent victim, and God Sacrificing His only Begotten Son for you).
The children now understood some of the pain God feels when we mess up.
They now understood, to sin, meant they would have to destroy something they cared for and loved.
In case you are wondering, Panther is doing just fine!
Remember, Christ Made It Possible
We are going back to understand “Why Sacrifice Was Necessary?”
I want you to remember, Christ paved the way for us, He laid down His Life for us, (John 15:13).
Christ became our sacrifice, He became our innocent victim.
Turn your Bible with me to,
9 “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”
He removed the blood sacrifice that was involved with the First Testament through His Sacrifice, He fulfilled the sacrifice of old by becoming our Passover Lamb.
10 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Once and for all.
The High Priests of old entered into that second veil once a year. Christ would symbolically enter one time which was good for Eternity.
11 “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:”
The offerings of the Priests could never take away the sins of the people, it was not possible as we learned earlier. But it did keep the pain of their error in their heart and mind so they would hopefully cease from the sin.
12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
Jesus Christ, and when His offering was complete, He was in the very presence of God sitting on His Right Hand, (Hebrews 9:24).
14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
17 “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
God will not remember your sins if you have ceased the sin and asked for forgiveness.
18 “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”
“Remission”, which means “freedom” from sin is available to us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We no longer need to make an offering for sin, Christ paid that heavy price.
We simply go in prayer to the Father, ask Him for forgiveness, ask Him to help us cease from all of our sins and help us walk the Right path.
We ask these things in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, amen.